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Top Seven Preps for Total Collapse

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It has been crazy around here. Maybe it’s because of the Blood Moons, but I’ve been extremely busy lately, presenting seminars and doing some private consulting on the issue of emergency preparedness and security.

By “total collapse” I mean something more dramatic than what we’ve seen in our generation. We’ve witnessed the complete breakdown of supply lines and infrastructure in a broad geographic area for a period of several weeks or more — hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are but two recent examples — but I’m talking about something worse than that.

I’m talking about an event that could span years and affect the entire country, or even the world. It could be any number of things: A natural disaster like an EMP, a CME (coronal mass ejection), or massive earthquake, or a political event like economic collapse and/or war.

I’ll get into the specific likelihood of these events in another post, because right now I want to focus on getting you ready for known risks.

Is the Second Coming Imminent?

But before I get to the meat of this post, I’ve been asked enough to know that I simply have to address the second coming of Christ. My views are very simple; I don’t know when it’s happening. People have been predicting the imminent return of Christ for 2000 years, and the only thing we’ve learned is that whenever someone predicts precisely when it’s going to happen, that’s when it doesn’t happen. Now they’re doing it again, and people are freaking out about being prepared — which is good, in the end.

I haven’t been given (or otherwise acquired) any special knowledge of when the Apocalypse will happen. Some people claim to know these things, and they might or might not; we’ll only know when their predictions come true, or don’t. In the meantime, I just assume it could happen any day, or not in my lifetime.

Now to answer the question in the heading: Is the second coming imminent? Well, as I understand them, the scriptures indicate that Jesus is “coming quickly,” and this is usually understood to mean “soon.” I’m not sure that’s correct, but assuming it is, it leads some to wonder how 2000 years or more can be considered “soon.”

But in my mind, that’s immaterial. The day it happens, it’s going to seem far too soon to those who are up for judgment. Also, if you consider that 2000 years is only about two lifetimes of Adam, or about 25 lifetimes of modern man, that doesn’t seem very long.

So either way, “soon” will be seen to be, in fact, “soon,” and since it could be tomorrow, for all I know, in my mind it is imminent.

Preparing for Known Risks

But whatever. I don’t have to settle the theology of future things to be prepared for the unknown. I prepare mainly for known risks, and to some extent, when you prepare for anything, you’re prepared for everything. That said, in my mind the Apocalypse is a known risk (even if I don’t know when it will happen), just as sure but indefinite as earthquakes, Coronal Mass Ejection Events, and sudden economic collapse. So whether you want to prepare for any of these events or the Tribulation, I’m happy to assist.

I can easily envision apocalyptic scenarios without invoking the Apocalypse. Just imagine Ferguson on a national scale. Or consider how Katrina demonstrated the fragility of civilized society in America. While the 1998 floods in Bangladesh might not have been as dramatic as the Great Tribulation, 30 million homes destroyed and thousands of dead is not trivial.

Top Seven Preps for Total Collapse

Why should you prep for emergencies? In short, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. If you can’t even help yourself, how are you going to help others in need? Put yourself in a position to help yourself, and you’ll be in a position to help others too. This is particularly important when it comes to those in your charge — your wife, kids, and close family.

Probably the most common obstacle I see that stops people from undertaking a systematic emergency preparedness plan is the disruptive effect it can have on their lives. Most people can’t move to the wilderness of Utah; they have mortgages, families, jobs, church, and Little League coaching or ballet classes. That’s why I steer my clients in the direction of preparing in a way that adds only a little additional time, inconvenience, and expense in getting ready for emergencies.

And in most cases, there really is no expense, or at least very little. What I mean is that if they purchase things they’re going to use anyway, all they’re doing is buying in advance, and usually getting more for their money.

I also urge them to take steps that yield immediate benefits, not just if Doomsday happens. For example, one of my common recommendations is to get in shape to deal with the stresses of off-grid living. My personal favorite fitness regime is strength training. The results are rapid and long-lasting, and I don’t have to wait for Doomsday to enjoy them.

I advise my clients to prepare for known threats. We know that in the summer there will be tornados and hurricanes, and in the winter we have blizzards and ice storms. Coastal and riverside residents face flooding. Certain regions of the world run higher risks of earthquakes. On any given day you might have a flat tire and face a potentially life-threatening emergency. On any day you might be stuck in traffic for several hours with a young child or infant in the car. Use these common situations as a test of your abilities. If you can’t even prepare for mundane, everyday inconveniences, how will you prepare for serious emergencies?

And some “mundane” issues are only seemingly mundane. Simply running out of gas in the Southwest desert can be lethal.

Every situation is different, and you should consult an expert to help you save trouble and money, but I do have the following recommendations which are based on the situations I run into most often in my consultations.  (If you’d like to consult me, please use the contact form and enter the subject “Consultation”).

1. Identify Your Threats

One of the first questions I ask my clients is what risks they are seeking to mitigate. This does two things; it focuses them on the problem that needs solving, and it helps me make sure I address their concerns. Of course, if I think you have failed in your threat assessment, I will make some suggestions.

2. Secure Your Shelter

Most of my clients expect me to recommend that they first shore up their food and water supplies, but my question always is “where?” Where are you going to put this stuff? Do you have a safe place? Make sure your house is secure before you prepare it for an extended stay in an emergency. If you live in an urban setting, you absolutely must have an evacuation plan. For that you’ll need a safe retreat (see No. 5, below). Identify the “triggers” that will make you leave, so you don’t have to think about it under stress.

3. Stock Food and Water

I recommend 2000 calories per person per day for everyone in the household, plus half, for two weeks. So if you have a family of 4, stock up for 6.

4. Shore Up Your Off-Grid Capability

If the power goes down, how will you heat? You’ll need a backup heat source, like a wood stove and some dried, stacked firewood.

There are many other off-grid issues: How will you cook? How will you sanitize anything? How will you see in the dark? What about all the food in the freezer?

5. Secure a Safe Retreat

No matter how remote and secure your location, it might be compromised, forcing you to evacuate. In that case, you need a place to go. It should provide shelter, food, water, and medical supplies for an indefinite time (a minimum of 8 months, to make sure you can get through the winter and into the next growing season. This location must be accessible by back roads — you need to be able to reach it even if the major highways are jammed. If you can’t reach this location on about 1/2 tank of fuel in your getaway vehicle, you should consider extending the range of your vehicle or stashing hidden fuel supplies on your route. Have a hard copy map of the area you’ll be traveling. Don’t count on the Internet or GPS to find your way.

6. Develop a Prepared Community

Your neighbors are potentially your greatest asset in an emergency, but only if they are prepared. Otherwise, they are potentially your worst threat. Identify friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who will be interested in preparing with you, and then encourage each other regularly.

7. Learn Self Defense

For most people I recommend a gun safety course and some tactical training, as well as a basic self-defense course. Then go get a carry permit and take that handgun wherever you can. Which weapons and ammo is a very individualized issue that depends on many factors, not the least of which are your personal history, physical capabilities, and legal environment. For this reason I usually refrain from giving generalized advice.

I’ll just say this — whatever you choose to carry, if it’s so heavy or bulky that you wind up leaving it behind, it’s pointless. And if it’s such an uncommon caliber that you can’t afford to practice, not only will you not know how to defend yourself, but you’ll actually be a hazard to everyone else.

Bonus Tip #1: Prep Your Vehicle

You spend a lot of time in your vehicle, so make sure it is equipped to help you in an emergency. See these articles for details:

  1. Survival Plan for a Road Trip
  2. Cold Weather Prep for Your Vehicle
  3. Prep Your Vehicle for Emergencies

Bonus Tip #2: Expand Your Medical Capability

If you have a decent first aid kit, excellent. Now kick it up. Get some advanced equipment and medicines so you can treat infections, severe bleeding wounds, and broken bones. See these articles:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Stocking an Emergency Evacuation Cache
  3. Advanced First Aid Supplies

Bonus Tip #3: Get Fit

Let’s be honest. Most of us spend too much time sitting. I’m nearly 50, and if I’m not careful, I get soft pretty quick. Can’t have that, so I’m doing what I reasonably can to stay fit. In most cases, especially for men, the easiest and most satisfying thing you can do is strength training. Dieting is hard to stick with, but working out with a decent set of free weights is fun, and the results are rapid, obvious, and long-lasting. You don’t have to wait for an emergency to enjoy the benefits.

Another good fitness regime is HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. So instead of jogging, you sprint 30 seconds, rest 90 seconds, and repeat 9 times. The idea is to train yourself to put out maximum effort in short bursts; it’s an outstanding way to build strength rapidly. I’m not doing this yet; I’m still jogging, getting my muscles and joints hardened first, and at my age that takes awhile. I have to build up slowly to avoid workout injuries, of which I’ve had several in the last couple of years. I’m being more careful now, because the injuries are counterproductive.

Packing on muscle increases your metabolic rate; you burn extra calories in your sleep just because you have a larger muscle mass that sits there and chugs away like a furnace. No kidding, you can lose fat simply by doing strength training and not changing your diet. If I can do it, so can a lot of you.

Plus, increasing your strength increases your natural testosterone production, and let’s not kid ourselves; we all think that’s a good thing. You can imagine the benefits of that without any help from me.


ETHICS STATEMENT: While I do sell emergency preparedness related products on this web site, or receive a commission for their sale, I cannot ethically recommend that my clients purchase the products I sell. Instead, I have arranged with my suppliers for my clients to receive a discount in the amount of my foregone profit. This amount can substantially, and in some cases completely, offset my consultation fee.


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  • Dave Stephens

    Fail. (1) get right with Jesus Christ. (2) move to central Utah. (3) gather a year supply of food, ammo, seeds, etc. (4) do all this before this November.

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